Philosophising about the 'S'-word: Watch… and learn
True Detective is an American television crime drama series on HBO created and written by Nic Pizzolatto, with the first season directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga. Season one stars Matthew McConaughey, Woody Harrelson (Cheers, Will & Grance), Michelle Monaghan (Boston Public), Michael Potts (The Wire), and Tory Kittles (Sons of Anarchy), and uses multiple timelines to trace two Louisiana State Police Criminal Investigations Division homicide detectives’ hunt for a serial killer in Louisiana across seventeen years. The series premiered on January 12th, 2014, and has received widespread critical acclaim.
In addition to being overtly influenced and inspired by pulp detective fiction, True Detective incorporates elements and themes from the weird supernatural horror genre. This includes quotations from and direct references to Robert W. Chambers’ classic 1895 book The King in Yellow and lines of dialogue directly inspired by the works of modern-day cult horror author Thomas Ligotti. The series’ writer and showrunner, Nic Pizzolatto, has directly acknowledged and commented on these influences in an interview given to The Wall Street Journal.In the same article Pizzolatto recommends modern-day horror authors Karl Edward Wagner, Laird Barron, John Langan, Simon Strantzas and the recent anthology A Season in Carcosa. Pizzolatto also mentions as influences the nihilistic philosophies in the books Confessions of an Antinatalist by Jim Crawford, Nihil Unbound by Ray Brassier, In The Dust of This Planet by Eugene Thacker, and Better Never to Have Been by David Benatar. Wall Street Journal writer Michael Calia has offered some commentary and analysis on these influences, as has the website io9. There has also been some discussion of the influence of comic book writers Alan Moore and Grant Morrison on the plot and philosophy of the series, as analyzed by Sam Adams at Indiewire,initially stemming from a quote that Pizzolatto gave to The Courier-Journal in 2010.Fukunaga also expressed interest in filmmaker David Lynch, and cited Lynch’s process filming Twin Peaks as an influence.